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Give the Gift of Virtual Love

October 12, 2009

Pass a DrinkBrandweek recently reported that Twitter users will now be able to share branded virtual gifts, as already available on social media sites like Facebook and blog portals like LiveJournal. AdNectar, a social network marketing agency, has launched the virtual gifts platform for Twitter. The post notes several brands including Malibu Rum, Nestle Toll House and Elmo Tickle Hands as some of the first to begin running campaigns using virtual gifts on Twitter.

AdNectar promotes virtual gifts as the ultimate tool in brand evangelism. Virtual gift giving is akin to a word of mouth recommendation. The tool works on multiple levels: brand enthusiasts endorse your brand when sharing it as a gift, brand engagement occurs when recipients interact with a gift, and brand awareness builds when friends or followers in social networks are exposed to a gift. Based on research conducted for clients, AdNectar boasts that while virtual, gifts do drive offline behavior. Results from previous campaigns show significant lift in metrics like purchase intent and brand awareness.

Virtual gifts act as an online greeting card, a social gesture or an added display of your personality. But do people really use them, especially when there’s a price attached?

According to reports, Facebook has already demonstrated that consumers are willing to spend a small amount for add-ons like virtual gifts (10 virtual gift credits run about $1.00). Business Insider valued virtual gifting as an estimated $75 million business for Facebook.

It will be interesting to see as more data becomes available how branded virtual gift giving evolves across social media.

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